June 25th, Day Five – Getting Dirty in Service
Packs scattered throughout the campsite.
We awoke to another cold morning (there seems to be a pattern developing here)
of about 35 degrees. We got dressed into our work clothes and feasted on hot
oatmeal for breakfast. The one thing I dislike about mornings is that there
is no coffee. Perhaps this is good for my fellow crew mates, as it kept my usual
overly perky attitude in the morning at bay. I managed to wake up by taking
in the brisk cold air and breathtaking sights of Philmont.
OATC622: trail building at its finest.
We headed back to the work site. We filled up our water supply at the spigot
and got up to the tools area. Today, each participant explained the functions
and safety features of the tools. The crew was getting the hang of things. We
were praised by our forman for doing a good job and started clearing more trail.
Loosing up dirt to make the trail level.
There are five stages to trail building that we learned: surveying, pioneering,
rough cutting, finishing and maintenance. I was pioneering and rough cutting
which consisted of cutting down trees, branches, bushes and removing earth to make way for the trail. Another
crew was working on finishing a platform for a switch back while another was
making water diverts. Everyone was busy with hard trail work. A great sight
After lunch, we took another short siesta and then continued with
more work. The weather changed to thunderstorms which resulted in heavy hail (size of peas) and rain. It was
COLD! Regardless, we pressed on with work. For the next couple of minutes, we
heard the constant tapping of the hail bouncing off our work helmets. Ice falling
on us in the middle of summer in New Mexico? At this point, I think its safe
to say that I am in a new world. In fact, I learned that Philmont is the
only BSA high adventure camp that offers winter camping year-round.
Chris, Forman of OATC622A, holding his hail-made snowball
Today, I was selected to be a cook with Steve for dinner. If you are selected
to cook, you leave the work site slightly early with a foreman to get a start
on preparing dinner. For dinner, we had Beef Stroganoff with Buffalo meat.
Delicious cannot fully describe this meal for champions.
OATC622B planning out their trek week.
We cleaned up dinner and circled around the campfire. It finally stopped raining
and hailing. We separated into our two crews and planned our treks that we would
take in the next week. Our foreman let us pick places we wanted to go. Then they
mapped out the exact itinerary without our presence. During our trek, it was
to be a surprise on where we were going each day. After trek planning, we gathered
around the fire to finish Personal Introductions, ending with thorns and roses.
It was another cold night. For a summer night in New Mexico at an altitude of
10,000 feet, it was down to 30 degrees before we hit our sleeping bags. Most
of everyone was expecting low temperatures in the 50's and 60's
for the trip.
Today, we cleared about 60 feet of trail.
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